Instant Racing: $19M in Bets in Three Months

The monthly totals continue to increase at Kentucky Downs.

Instant Racing at Kentucky Downs produced more than $19.52 million in wagers in its first three months of operation, according to figures from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Instant Racing machines, which are considered pari-mutuel because all bets are pooled and the results of various video games are based on historical races, began operating at the Kentucky racetrack Sept. 1. The machines are available seven days a week, and play has been particularly strong Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, according to the statistics.

Total handle for September was $4.33 million. It jumped 56% to $6.76 million in October, and increased another 24% to $8.41 million in November.

Kentucky Downs’ commission for the three months totaled $1.4 million. Included in that figure is a percentage for purses; the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, however, is assisting Kentucky Downs financially with the Instant Racing startup. Beginning in January 2012, the KHRC will separate track commissions and purses in its monthly reports.

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which supplements certain purses for Kentucky-bred runners, has earned more than $146,000 in the first three months of Instant Racing.

Kentucky Downs has 200 of the wagering devices, which are located in a renovated room on the first floor of the facility near the Tennessee border.

Ellis Park in western Kentucky was awarded an Instant Racing license from the KHRC this fall and is in the process of renovating its facility to accommodate the machines. Other Kentucky tracks are waiting for a ruling on a legal challenge before they proceed with Instant Racing, which the state Attorney General’s office has deemed as legal under statute.